I won’t lie and tell you I’ve actually read these books; I have, however, been listening to the unabridged audio and am currently on Book 4. Written by Naomi Novik the Temeraire books (His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, and Empire of Ivory) follow the exploits of a young dragon in service to Britain during the Napoleon Wars. Rife with military jargon and excellent action Novik does a splendid job not only of integrating the use of dragons in aerial service but also in expressing the deep beyond between humans and dragons that is the linchpin of the whole series. Readers looking for a “high fantasy” adventure would do well to look elsewhere as the book is couched in more naturalist terms with dragons described and explained in a very scientific manner. Indeed the book is saturated with a very practical integration of dragons and the real world that sets it markedly apart from other series.
Fans of historical and military fantasy could do little better than giving these books a whirl. Even fans of the Napoleonic Era might enjoy a look at this “alternate” take and get a serious kick out of seeing familiar faces from Lord Nelson to the Marshals of France. A rather unconventional hero, a nearly 40 year old naval captain turned aviator, makes for an interesting contrast to the young, inexperienced teens and twenty-somethings so typical in today’s fantasy and end a certain unique quality to the proceedings. If you don’t want to read the books the unabridged audiobooks are absolutely splendid and come alive thanks to the talents of veteran narrator Simon Vance. They are also conveniently available via iTunes (make sure you read the comments for book 2, lest you get screwed like I did) and a worthwhile investment either to enjoy during a nice run (in our 60+ degree “winter” weather) or your morning commute.